The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610

By Laura Hanes Cadwallader | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
ESSEX AS LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND

"Sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;
And after summer ever more succeeds
Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold."
SHAKESPEARE, Second Part of Henry VI, Act II, Sc. 4

All the preparations for the Irish expedition being completed, the new Lord Lieutenant set out from London March 27, 1599, with a gallant company whose hearts were filled with joy and pride. The entire nation seemed animated by enthusiasm for the noble commander. "The people pressed exceedingly to behold him,. . . . crying and saying, God blesse your Lordship, God preserve your honour, etc., and some followed him until the Evening, only to behold him."1 When he left London, the sky was very calm and clear, but suddenly a thunder storm broke, with a shower of hail and rain, which some feared to be an ill omen.2

In Essex's army there were many enemies who had been instructed to spy on his conduct and to report at home the conduct of affairs in Ireland; for, in spite of her protestations of affection and confidence, Elizabeth still cherished some hostility and suspicion toward Essex. Robert Markham writing to John Harington at this time remarked, "Tho' the Queene hathe graunted forgivenesse for his late demeanor, in her presence, we know not what to think

____________________
1
John Stow, Annales ( London, 1631), p. 788.
2
Ibid.; John Speed, The Historie of Great Britaine ( London, 1632), p. 1203; Camden, Elizabeth, p. 569.

-34-

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